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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

College Coaches Crying, New 76ers Logo, Draft thoughts, more

It’s Hump Day. Time to remember that the oasis of two days a week without your boss isn’t so far away, and to look back (and maybe a little forward) at the week in sports.


College coaches bitching about “1 & done.” Enough already from college coaches crying about the NBA allowing players to be drafted after one year in college. It’s not the NBA’s job to make kids go to class. If colleges are recruiting the mercenaries that have no intention of staying for more than a year and therefore blow off the second semester of their “freshman” year, it’s their own damn fault. It’s an absolute joke that they want someone else to make their programs have an appearance of respectability.

Besides, how far have these so-called institutions of higher learning fallen for them to actually think having a kid play student-athlete for two years is more respectable? Universities need to find a way to make the kids go to school for four years and actually graduate – which is supposed to be the point of going to college – or quit crying. They know when they’re recruiting a kid who can’t spell “algebra” let alone do algebra that he’s not interested in class. The charade needs to stop. College coaches should either recruit kids that have an actual interest in a college education regardless of what the competition is doing, or stop acting like they’re upset that kids use their program to get drafted. They’re using the same kid to try to win for a year, and everyone knows it.

Sixers new/old logo. Finally, the Philadelphia 76ers have undone Pat Croce’s ill-advised attempt to blend his love of Harley Davidson motorcycles with the team’s uniforms and logo. Croce did plenty of great things with the team, and briefly turned them into a winner. But I always hated that he changed the colors, logo, and even the court to incorporate black and gold. It really wasn’t supposed to be all about Pat. If he had figured that out, he might still be around and the Sixers might win every now and then. But, as the Sixers return to the logo and uniform of the early 1980s, at least we got our colors back. Now, if someone could just figure out what to do with Hip Hop, the muscled-up bunny that has somehow passed as the team’s mascot since Croce’s days, it would be appreciated.

Stefanski quip should raise eyebrows. I saw a news clip on Comcast SportsNet of Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski joking that newly hired coach Eddie Jordan could keep the name of the guy he hoped the Sixers would draft Thursday night “in his pocket.” Jordan had apparently told reporters he’d written down the name and was keeping it with him. (Why, I have no clue.) This is the guy Stefanski just hired, touting Jordan’s system, and, I believe, talking about how important it is that the coach and GM be on the same page. Just two weeks or so later, he seems to be singing a very different tune. Stefanski went on in the clip to essentially say a coach should coach and let the front office pick the players. Not a good sign.

Sounding like Lawson. Most reports have the Sixers taking Ty Lawson if he’s available when they pick. It’s almost always a crap shoot when team’s draft a player, but I like Lawson as a draft choice. He looks very strong, is a true point guard, and played for a winning school in North Carolina that won when he was there.

Mark Cuban is still a dope. From the blog of Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban:
“Bloggers, sports websites and even the print media have gotten so desperate they seem to have come to the conclusion that fabricated stories, passed off as rumors, are a better way to drive traffic and create awareness of a website or blog than actual reporting. Unfortunately, ESPN and local newspapers, radio and TV media have become the patsies of bloggers. If some random blogger reports that ‘he has heard that a trade of Joe for John is being discussed’, then the traditional media, as they have told me many times “is requested by their editor to run it down and see if its real’. Its almost like a sad joke. How do you make an ESPN reporter jump ? Make up something and put it on your blog. Somewhere a bunch of sports bloggers are playing a drinking game. Chug if the other guys made up trade rumor makes the ESPN crawl. How to stop it ? puts up a page of blacklisted blogs and websites who’s posts they wont comment on or report on in any way. It will create a short term surge of traffic for those sites, but then they will go away as the proprietors of the sites realize that being discredited is not a good thing.”

Leave it to a billionaire who apparently is incapable of using punctuation properly to help the world decide who deserves the right to free speech and who doesn’t. If the media is running down rumors on blogs, that may explain why newspapers are becoming a thing of the past. If Mark Cuban is overwhelmed by figuring out which blogs are worth reading, one has to wonder how he made his fortune in the first place. Of course, he wasn’t able to grasp the irony of posting the idea of blacklisting bloggers on his own blog, so maybe I’m setting the bar too high.

Quick shots:

-ESPN announced Tuesday night that it would break into coverage of the College World Series for Manny Ramirez’s at-bats in the minor leagues. Yet, somehow they continue to think they are the keepers of all that is good and righteous in sports.

-As much as I like the ideals behind Roger Goodell’s disciplinary measures as NFL commissioner, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s out of control. He suspended Cleveland Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth indefinitely without pay following his guilty plea to DUI manslaughter in the death of a pedestrian. Yet all Stallworth got from the courts was a month in jail, probation, and community service. I actually agree with Goodell more than the courts, but I don’t get how Goodell gets away with usurping the legal system.

-On the other side of the Stallworth issue sits Mike Missanelli. In about 15 minutes Thursday evening, I heard Missanelli suggest Stallworth wasn’t breaking the law until he struck the pedestrian. In the same 15 minutes he suggested it was “time to get angry” after the Phillies were swept by Toronto. I understand Missanelli wasn’t defending drinking and driving, but it was such an asinine point he should have left it alone. Not knowing for sure if you’re legally drunk is not an excuse for getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. And the assertion, which is picking up steam around Philadelphia, that fans need to play into their national reputation of booing mercilessly as if it will spur on the World Champions is almost just as stupid (though socially less significant, obviously).

-Phil Jackson is searching for a new level of arrogance, saying he wants to coach the Lakers next season . . . but not all of the road games. Weak. If you can’t handle the schedule, retire.

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